Eager to see athletes back in Olympics
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Taekwondo coach Dirc Richard Talumewo aims to bring Indonesian athletes back to the Olympics, having won a silver medal at the Summer Olympics in Barcelona in 1992.
Indonesia’s last participant in the sport was Juana Wangsa Putri in the 2000s, during which her best performance was a place in the semifinals.
Richard says he will strive hard to get Indonesian taekwondo athletes into the next Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
An Olympic silver medal in Barcelona was the peak of Richard’s impressive career, which also saw him earn the same medals in the World Championship in Athens in 1991 and the pre-Olympic Asian Championship in Kuala Lumpur in 1992.
Currently secretary-general of Taekwondo Indonesia (TI), the former athlete of German descent is hailed with having pioneered national taekwondo into featuring in the Olympics.
A few months before Barcelona, he participated in the pre-Olympic tournament in Korea where he was beaten by a local fighter. Reports at the time said he had the upper hand over his Korean opponent, only to lose — allegedly due to political intervention — given the fact that taekwondo was making its being included in the Olympics for the first time.
“I did not speculate about it because it could not be proved,” he said when asked about the issue during a recent interview with The Jakarta Post at the National Games (PON) 2012 in Pekanbaru.
Recalling the event, he said manual scoring was then still in use.
“It was an absolute judgment by the referees who wrote the scores down on paper. The competition now uses a digital Point Scoring System (PPS), which is being used for the first time in these games,” he said.
The PPS allows automatic scoring for landed strikes on the body, while blows to the head remain subject to human judgment.
“The development of the system from manual to electronic has been a good move as the results are more accurate.”
Richard, who coaches the East Kalimantan team at the PON, won many gold medals as an athlete and he was one of only a few athletes to score a hat trick in three consecutive National Games.
His time has been split between training athletes and appearing on television as a commentator, such as at the London Olympics and the 2011 SEA (Southeast Asian) Games.
He said he was optimistic about Indonesia’s prospects of qualifying for Rio de Janeiro, based on the athletes’ performance at the SEA Games, in which six gold medals were secured.
Indonesian athletes also won a silver and bronze at the recent world championships.
“It’s time for Indonesian taekwondo to rise, and I’m sure we can pursue Olympic success as we did in the past. We must bring a winning spirit back among the athletes,” he said.
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